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1.  Minimally Invasive Removal of an Intradural Cervical Tumor : Assessment of a Combined Split-Spinous Laminectomy and Quadrant Tube Retractor System Technique 
Conventional laminectomy is the most popular technique for the complete removal of intradural spinal tumors. In particular, the central portion intramedullary tumor and large intradural extramedullary tumor often require a total laminectomy for the midline myelotomy, sufficient decompression, and adequate visualization. However, this technique has the disadvantages of a wide incision, extensive periosteal muscle dissection, and bony structural injury. Recently, split-spinous laminectomy and tubular retractor systems were found to decrease postoperative muscle injuries, skin incision size and discomfort. The combined technique of split-spinous laminectomy, using a quadrant tube retractor system allows for an excellent exposure of the tumor with minimal trauma of the surrounding tissue. We propose that this technique offers possible advantages over the traditional open tumor removal of the intradural spinal cord tumors, which covers one or two cervical levels and requires a total laminectomy.
PMCID: PMC3488659  PMID: 23133739
Cervical cord tumor; Split-spinous laminectomy; Quadrant tube retractor
2.  Transient Adverse Neurologic Effects of Spinal Pain Blocks 
Chronic neck or back pain can be managed with various procedures. Although these procedures are usually well-tolerated, a variety of side effects have been reported. In this study we reviewed cases of unexpected temporary adverse events after blocks and suggest possible causes.
We reviewed the records of patients treated with spinal pain blocks between December 2009 and January 2011. The types of blocks performed were medial branch blocks, interlaminar epidural blocks and transforaminal epidural blocks. During the first eight months of the study period (Group A), 2% mepivacaine HCL and triamcinolone was used, and during the last six months of the study period (Group B), mepivacaine was diluted to 1% with normal saline.
There were 704 procedures in 613 patients. Ten patients had 12 transient neurologic events. Nine patients were in Group A and one was in Group B. Transient complications occurred in four patients after cervical block and in eight patients after lumbar block. Side effects of lumbar spine blocks were associated with the concentration of mepivacaine (p<0.05). The likely causes were a high concentration of mepivacaine in five patients, inadvertent vascular injection in three patients, intrathecal leak of local anesthetics in one, and underlying conversion disorder in one.
Spinal pain blocks are a good option for relieving pain, but clinicians should always keep in mind the potential for development of inevitable complications. Careful history-taking, appropriate selection of the anesthetics, and using real-time fluoroscopy could help reduce the occurrence of adverse events.
PMCID: PMC3483324  PMID: 23115666
Adverse effect; Spinal pain; Conversion disorder; Medial branch blocks; Paralysis; C2 ganglion block
3.  Neuroprotective Effect of Anthocyanin on Experimental Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury 
We investigated the neuroprotective effect of anthocyanin, oxygen radical scavenger extracted from raspberries, after traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) in rats.
The animals were divided into two groups : the vehicle-treated group (control group, n=20) received an oral administration of normal saline via stomach intubation immediately after SCI, and the anthocyanin-treated group (AT group, n=20) received 400 mg/kg of cyanidin 3-O-β-glucoside (C3G) in the same way. We compared the neurological functions, superoxide expressions and lesion volumes in two groups.
At 14 days after SCI, the AT group showed significant improvement of the BBB score by 16.7±3.4%, platform hang by 40.0±9.1% and hind foot bar grab by 30.8±8.4% (p<0.05 in all outcomes). The degree of superoxide expression, represented by the ratio of red fluorescence intensity, was significantly lower in the AT group (0.98±0.38) than the control group (1.34±0.24) (p<0.05). The lesion volume in lesion periphery was 32.1±2.4 µL in the control and 24.5±2.3 µL in the AT group, respectively (p<0.05), and the motor neuron cell number of the anterior horn in lesion periphery was 8.3±5.1 cells/HPF in the control and 13.4±6.3 cells/HPF in the AT group, respectively (p<0.05).
Anthocyanin seemed to reduce lesion volume and neuronal loss by its antioxidant effect and these resulted in improved functional recovery.
PMCID: PMC3098422  PMID: 21607177
Spinal cord trauma; Anthocyanin; Antioxidants
4.  Leg Weakness in a Patient with Lumbar Stenosis and Adrenal Insufficiency 
Lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) is a common spinal disease in the elderly. The cardinal symptom of LSS is neurogenic claudication, but not all patients present with such typical symptom. The clinical symptoms are often confused with symptoms of peripheral neuropathy, musculo-skeletal disease and other medical conditions in elderly patients. In particular, LSS presenting with rapid progression of leg weakness must be distinguished from other combined diseases. We report a case of rapid progressive leg weakness in a patient with LSS and iatrogenic adrenal insufficiency that was induced by obscure health supplement.
PMCID: PMC3098429  PMID: 21607184
Leg weakness; Lumbar spinal stenosis; Adrenal insufficiency
5.  A Case of Pedicle Screw Loosening Treated by Modified Transpedicular Screw Augmentation with Polymethylmethacrylate 
We report a case of pedicle screw loosening treated by modified transpedicular screw augmentation technique using polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA), which used the anchoring effect of hardened PMMA. A 56-year-old man who had an L3/4/5 fusion operation 3 years ago complained of continuous low back pain after this operation. The computerized tomography showed a radiolucent halo around the pedicle screw at L5. We augmented the L5 pedicle screw with modified pedicle screw augmentation technique using PMMA and performed an L3/4/5 pedicle screw fixation without hook or operation field extension. This modified technique is a kind of transpedicular stiffness augmentation using PMMA for the dead space around the loosed screw. After filling the dead space with 1-2 cc of PMMA, we inserted a small screw. Once the PMMA hardened, we removed the small screw and inserted a thicker screw along the existing screw threading to improve the pedicle screws' pullout strength. At 10 months' follow-up, x-ray showed strong fusion of L3/4/5. The visual analogue scale (VAS) of his back pain was improved from 9 to 5. This modified transpedicular screw augmentation with PMMA using anchoring effect is a simple and effective surgical technique for pedicle screw loosening. However, clinical analyses of long-term follow-up and biomechanical studies are needed.
PMCID: PMC3070902  PMID: 21494370
Instrument failure; Osteoporosis; Pedicle screw loosening; PMMA; Pseudoarthrosis; Surgical technique
6.  Cervical Radiculopathy due to Cervical Degenerative Diseases : Anatomy, Diagnosis and Treatment 
A cervical radiculopathy is the most common symptom of cervical degenerative disease and its natural course is generally favorable. With a precise diagnosis using appropriate tools, the majority of patients will respond well to conservative treatment. Cervical radiculopathy with persistent radicular pain after conservative treatment and progressive or profound motor weakness may require surgery. Options for surgical management are extensive. Each technique has strengths and weaknesses, so the choice will depend on the patient's clinical profile and the surgeon's judgment.
PMCID: PMC3053539  PMID: 21430971
Cervical radiculopathy; Diagnosis; Surgery
7.  Association between Asymptomatic Urinary Tract Infection and Postoperative Spine Infection in Elderly Women : A Retrospective Analysis Study 
The purpose of this study is to identify the relationship between asymptomatic urinary tract infection (aUTI) and postoperative spine infection.
A retrospective review was done in 355 women more than 65 years old who had undergone laminectomy and/or discectomy, and spinal fusion, between January 2004 and December 2008. Previously postulated risk factors (i.e., instrumentation, diabetes, prior corticosteroid therapy, previous spinal surgery, and smoking) were investigated. Furthermore, we added aUTI that was not previously considered.
Among 355 patients, 42 met the criteria for aUTI (Bacteriuria ≥ 105 CFU/mL and no associated symptoms). A postoperative spine infection was evident in 15 of 355 patients. Of the previously described risk factors, multi-levels (p < 0.05), instrumentation (p < 0.05) and diabetes (p < 0.05) were proven risk factors, whereas aUTI (p > 0.05) was not statistically significant. However, aUTI with Foley catheterization was statistically significant when Foley catheterization was added as a variable to the all existing risk factors.
aUTI is not rare in elderly women admitted to the hospital for lumbar spine surgery. The results of this study suggest that aUTI with Foley catheterization may be considered a risk factor for postoperative spine infection in elderly women. Therefore, we would consider treating aUTI before operating on elderly women who will need Foley catheterization.
PMCID: PMC2864818  PMID: 20461166
Asymptomatic UTI; Postoperative spine infection; Elderly women
8.  Spontaneous Intracranial Hypotension Secondary to Lumbar Disc Herniation 
Spontaneous intracranial hypotension is often idiopathic. We report on a patient presenting with symptomatic intracranial hypotension and pain radiating to the right leg caused by a transdural lumbar disc herniation. Magnetic resonance (MR) imaging of the brain revealed classic signs of intracranial hypotension, and an additional spinal MR confirmed a lumbar transdural herniated disc as the cause. The patient was treated with a partial hemilaminectomy and discectomy. We were able to find the source of cerebrospinal fluid leak, and packed it with epidural glue and gelfoam. Postoperatively, the patient's headache and log radiating pain resolved and there was no neurological deficit. Thus, in this case, lumbar disc herniation may have been a cause of spontaneous intracranial hypotension.
PMCID: PMC2817515  PMID: 20157378
Spontaneous intracranial hypotension; Orthostatic headache; Lumbar disc herniation
9.  Primary Paraspinal Malignant Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumor 
Malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNSTs) are very rare tumors. We experienced a case of MPNST in the cervical paraspinal space which was not associated with neurofibromatosis. The tumor located in left C6-7 foramen and compressed C7 root. The tumor was removed through the occipital triangle. We report a case of the primary cerivcal MPNST in a patient who did not have neurofibromatosis-1.
PMCID: PMC2588335  PMID: 19096700
Malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor; Cervical paraspinal space; Occipital triangle
10.  Segmental Deformity Correction after Balloon Kyphoplasty in the Osteoporotic Vertebral Compression Fracture 
Balloon kyphoplasty can effectively relieve the symptomatic pain and correct the segmental deformity of osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures. While many articles have reported on the effectiveness of the procedure, there has not been any research on the factors affecting the deformity correction. Here, we evaluated both the relationship between postoperative pain relief and restoration of the vertebral height, and segmental kyphosis, as well as the various factors affecting segmental deformity correction after balloon kyphoplasty.
Between January 2004 and December 2006, 137 patients (158 vertebral levels) underwent balloon kyphoplasty. We analyzed various factors such as the age and sex of the patient, preoperative compression ratio, kyphotic angle of compressed segment, injected PMMA volume, configuration of compression, preoperative bone mineral density (BMD) score, time interval between onset of symptom and the procedure, visual analogue scale (VAS) score for pain rating and surgery-related complications.
The mean postoperative VAS score improvement was 4.93±0.17. The mean postoperative height restoration rate was 17.8±1.57% and the kyphotic angle reduction was 1.94±0.38°. However, there were no significant statistical correlations among VAS score improvement, height restoration rate, and kyphotic angle reduction. Among the various factors, the configuration of the compressed vertebral body (p=0.002) was related to the height restoration rate and the direction of the compression (p=0.006) was related with the kyphotic angle reduction. The preoperative compression ratio (p=0.023, p=0.006) and injected PMMA volume (p<0.001, p=0.035) affected both the height restoration and kyphotic angle reduction. Only the preoperative compression ratio was found to be as an independent affecting factor (95% CI : 1.064-5.068).
The two major benefits of balloon kyphoplasty are immediate pain relief and local deformity correction, but segmental deformity correction achieved by balloon kyphoplasty does not result in additional pain relief. Among the factors that were shown to affect the segmental deformity correction, configuration of the compressed vertebral body, direction of the most compressed area, and preoperative compression ratio were not modifiable. However, careful preoperative consideration about the modifiable factor, the PMMA volume to inject, may contribute to the dynamic correction of the segmental deformity.
PMCID: PMC2588189  PMID: 19096572
Balloon kyphoplasty; Compression fracture; Deformity; Restoration

Results 1-10 (10)